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post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I had this "Eureka" moment when I was reading the "Short Turns" thread in technique. Pierre described the skill involved in making a short train as the ability to change direction, speed and intensity of a turn without excessive breaking.

This is similar to the definition of agility, which is the ability to change direction without the loss of speed, strength alignment or balance. Agility has always been the weakest link in my own athleticim. Interestingly enough, I have trouble with short radius turns.

Agility drills are a bit different from other fitness activities. The good news is that some require little or no equipment. Check it out!


[ August 26, 2002, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: AC ]
post #2 of 18

Thanks for the reference.
I am missing agility more than many of the other things that age has taken. (On the other hand, Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most . )

I find strength is missing as well, and so dynamic activity is reserved, almost feared. " Will I twist or roll something if I jump or cut or spin?". The apprehension continues the decline of activity.

Agility suffers, strength suffers. A vortex of atrophy.

When I "try to exercise" Things don't seem to work for me. I feel a defeating self consciousness, there is no lightness in my efforts. No inspiration.

I continue to get my exercise by jumping to conclusions, and flying off the handle.

This year, I have had great rewards playing "adult" soccer, once a week. (I can hear the jabs at "adult" in my own mind, so hold your comments I had never played before and have no skills in the game.
This activity begs for speed and agility, We oldsters call it "young legs". There are some who still have them, or have not "aged sufficiently" (We are lax in enforcement of the over 35 rule). We play! We play to our ability, and for as long as each of us feels able. ("If I play any longer I'm going to get hurt" is the parting line for most of us.)

Each Tuesday evening, I return home exhausted but happy to feel so alive. (Pain is proof of life?) Wed. is spent with aches and pains, Thursday, (today) with stiffness (lower legs for me this time).

But, The level of play is picking up! We all noticed the number of "good plays" that have been made. The improvement of the over all level of athleticism and agility shared between us "old guys" (and gals) is apparent. We are having the "more fun" that comes from doing something well. For me, after the first half hour, my movements cease to be an effort or a burden. (I still get winded after a run, that's for sure. I just don't "suffer" from it). I would like to play twice a week.

All I'm trying to get to is that there are both the ability, and the rewards, for increasing one's "mobility" .
The activity that requires it, is a very useful "training exercise". and can be "The Motivator"

Like the Nike adds go. "JUST DO IT!"

Back to Skiing, I am forming a strong conviction that the best method to be an "accomplished" skier is to ski! and ski some more!

Slightly different to the above theme:
Your self evaluation causes me to reflect on physical conditioning/ maintainance methods. You, as an advocate, practitioner and professional, would be my model of the fruition of knowledge and intent. Still you indicate "weakness" in some of the aspects of physical well being. I think perhaps your standards are different than mine. . If training for an activity doesn't "do it". that puts more importance on doing the activity it's self.

Again thanks LM, and thanks too for the continued inspiration to "get in shape"

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thought provoking, Cal. I would agree that the best way to improve skiing is to ski and ski some more.

But how possible is that? Short seasons in NE, financial considerations, etc. Combine that with the fact that as we age, so do our motor learning and learning retention skills.

There is another issue to be considered. If there are muscular inbalances in the body that are causing you to ski with improper technique, you will just perpetuate the inbalance, and it will be unlikely that you will improve. Boot fitting and alignmemnt helps somewhat, but you need to work on the body. So whatever ski specific fitness benefits you get by skiing itself, are unfortunately lost during the off season. Take a look at the astonishing amount of ACL tears people had this season! Even if you ski in perfect from, that not going to help the fact that you have a hamstring/quad inbalance, or flat feet, or you are a pronator, etc.

One of the reasons for my often rant like [img]smile.gif[/img] posts in the fitness forum, is to let people know that simply jumping on a few nautilus machines is not really ski conditioning. The story i tell so often that people are ready to gag me [img]tongue.gif[/img] , is that my first attempt to learn to ski many years ago, was a complete failure. The irony, I was spending close to 2 hours a day on traditional equipment weight training techniques, as well as 1-3 hours a day of cardio. But I could not even stand up on my skis.

There is NOTHING wrong with equipment training. Would'nt give it up if you paid me.

But it does not teach you a darn thing about agility! Its counter productive to it. Weight training equipment moves in a straight line with no surprises. You will never be required to quickly change direction. Some of the machines even have these dumb seat belts, so you do not even have to worry your sweet little head about using your transverse abdominals, an important postural stabilizer. :

The good news about agility training is that involves, as you've noticed, the fun stuff! Play a soccer game, chase your dog and/or kid around the park! Its all good!
Enjoy! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 18
great link, lm. thanks.
post #5 of 18
The first thing that hit me about these agility exercises is that doing them would be a work out beyond my present athletic ability. That is, I would be huffing after five minutes of any one of them. I doubt I would get through "a set" except at a pace that may not enhance my agility.
I mean really. "Sprint ahead 20 yards, cut right or left and move about the same distance lateraly. Then sprint ahead or reverse as called by "the coach". "

Oh! my aching self! I guess I will have to try!

The high school JV soccer team is coached by a good friend. He is "offering" early morning "conditioning sessions" for his team of boys. Mornings at 6:00. I thought I might go myself!


"Bliss it was, at that dawn, to be alive
And to be young was very heaven!"
post #6 of 18
Originally posted by CalG:
...I am missing agility more than many of the other things that age has taken. ... I find strength is missing as well, and so dynamic activity is reserved, almost feared. ... The apprehension continues the decline of activity. ... Agility suffers, strength suffers. A vortex of atrophy. ...
Wow. I could have written that myself (except you did it better). Age is hell. BTW, you forgot to mention stiffness, and increased fear of injury (not just fear of dynamic activity) and the lengthened recuperation periods as you age.

I find that while skiing, I now use pure technique to get me through situations that I would have muscled my way through in my younger days. I wish I could have had both simultaneously in my bag of tricks.

With these observations as morose inspiration, I definitely think I'm going to take off from work tmmrw, head out to the Shenandoahs, and do some bushwacking over the boulder fields. I've always found this to be a great way to get some agility back.

Tom / PM

(Edit = misplaced word)

[ August 08, 2002, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Two years ago, Reebok presented a program they had developed along with Tubbs Snowshoes called Winterfit. It was designed as a workout for most winter sports, and featured exercises whichare similar to those from the link I posted.

I had just learned to ski, and my reaction was "Goodness, skiing is much easier than this!"

Fitness professionals don't work that much with agility, because for the most part, our clients are interested in programs that give them sllek, lean muscles. Also, as has been stated, many of these sequences are extremely challenging.

That being said, especially as we age, agility becomes even more important. The intensity of which the exercises are performed would relate to your age, and your level of ski proficiency.

From Adema's posts, it is evident that he is interested in a high performance level of skiing, and it sounds like he is capable of going there. For him, i would reccommend many of these exercises as they are, and at a certain point I would probably suggest some that are even more challenging.

But for us baby boomers, a few modifications may be needed. like I said before, just going out and playing a game of soccer cam be helpful!
post #8 of 18
So, what is the best way to stay agile? I'm one of those who is perhaps the opposite of you, Lisamarie (or the way you were, as described). I don't like those Nautilus machines one little bit, but I will "play" forever. I have always been involved in soccer, tennis, and skiing -- soccer is just the best for agility, I believe (unless you're a cornerback in football; they rule). Tennis isn't bad, either. I think soccer prepares me for tennis better than vice versa, though.

Anyway, I have always been a pretty good skier, but I don't know why. I don't know technique, I'm not particularly strong, but I think I'm finally figuring it out: balance and agility, and the ability to move my feet, are really important.

Okay, back to my question. I'm 34. I'm still very fast around the tennis court, sometimes to even my own surprise. I have played this summer with girls currently on college tennis scholarships, and I cover the court just as well as they do, if not better than.

However: I'm not in great aerobic shape (due to my dislike of repetitive exercises, such as swimming laps or running), and I have various issues, such as SI joint instability and meniscus problems, that I know would be helped by more consistent exercise of the muscles surrounding my joints. But, will failing to do so decrease my agility? It will eventually increase my injury rate, I know, but will it hurt the agility that I prize now?

How does age actually affect agility? -- I guess that's the question. What can I do to stave off its decline?
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ok. If agility relates to the ability to change direction without the loss of speed, balance, alignment stength and control. If the stabilizing muscles are weak to the point of causing injury, eventually, age will overide your natural athleticism. So doing some post rehab exercises at least a few times a week may be a good idea.

Its interesting. People who do a lot of strength and cardio, but are not active in competitive sports, need to do some type of agility drills to develop those traits.

People who are naturally athletic, need to do a bit of strength traing in order to keep the agility that they naturally have, lest they succomb to injury.
post #10 of 18
So, if I'm really lucky, I won't get hurt. But eventually the injury, or the threat of it (as was alluded to by CalG), will cause the decline of agility.

I'm just trying to avoid joining a gym for as long as possible, can't you tell??

[ August 08, 2002, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: segbrown ]
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
"So, if I'm really lucky, I won't get hurt".

Hmmm, I don't know. An SI joint and a meniscus problem together spell trouble. Age has a way of accentuating your weakest link. Keep in mind, you've already been injured before the age of 34. Any injury sets up a pattern of misuse and overcompensation.

But if you hate the gym, don't do it that way. There are all sorts of things such as resistance tubes, balls, dyna discs that you can use at home.
post #12 of 18
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
"So, if I'm really lucky, I won't get hurt".
Sorry, I should have noted this was tongue in cheek! I've already been hurt, ever since I was 12. Arthritis here and there, eight patellar dislocations/subluxations, two knee operations, etc etc. I rehab for a while and then quit, which I'm sure is hardly unusual. : The problem is, I don't like gyms, but I'm not disciplined enough to be faithful on my own. Biggest problem is that I still have a preschooler, so I have time constraints, and joining a gym (i.e., giving up time spent "playing") isn't worth it (although I know it would be). Maybe when she starts kindergarten?

How do others like me motivate themselves?
post #13 of 18
I'm with ya!

My favorite activity (well, with clothes on) is scrambling up or down a rocky stream bed. Jumping and stepping rock to rock. It's all tempo and looking ahead. A lot like skiing.

I will not step into a gym! They smell too much. And those " Machines"..a..a.gh.hhh.h..h!!!

For now, At least I am aware of the changes age has brought. I am again doing actions I had been reluctant to do. Now with care and consideration.

Jumping out of the back of a pickup, planning the landing.
Up and down the house stairs with "a twist".
Awareness of posture during activities and the daily routine.
Saying yes to sport activities with my children.

lots of stuff To get ready for winter.

There was a bite in the air this morning. oh yea!

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
What you are doing for agility is perfect. keep in mind, though, if you are experiencing injuries, agility training alone will not help. You may need some strength work, but it does not have to be done in a gym.

OT: One of the reasons gyms smell so bad is that most of them are kept at the wrong room temperature. The absolute MAXIMUM it should be, if one is following ACSM guidelines, is 70 degrees. But even at 70, if there are 50 people in the room, it feels like 90! Many gyms keep the temps up at 76, which is both in the stink zone and the danger zone!

Back on topic. These folks in Vancouver have a good format for sport-specific training. I'll be taking a workshop with them in Toronto in 2 weeks.

post #15 of 18

Looks like a nice conference. Can't wait for the Cliff notes!!!!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Will do! The Canadian conventions are always characterized by the presenters' ability to think outside the box. Often, their cutting edge concepts on training become co-opted by Americans a few years later, who then pretend that the ideas were "their own".

I saw an article in this months Skiing {YEAH, groan, I know!} about Trail Running as a good form of agility training for mogul skiing.
Find a trail of about 25 yards long, with lots of rocks and roots. Try to keep your focus going down the fall line. Elbows close to your body, weight shifts kept to a minimum. Resist temptation to lean back.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
The Twist Conditioning guys are awesome! Although their major sport is hockey {Twist himself is the conditioning coach for the Vancouver Cannucks}, their approach is based on the philosophy that people involved in any sport should first develop their athleticism, before specializing in sport specific skills.

Check out their website. They periodically give workshops throughout Canada. In addition to their Excelerate program, they have also developed a Sport Balance certification.
Since they are from Vancouver, I am trying to get them to conduct it in the winter!

An interesting thing about warmup: They showed a clip of 2 different amateur hockey teams. One used a very slow, static stretch warmup. When they began to play, their reaction times were pretty slow, and some of their moves look out of control.

the other group performed a more dynamic warmup, flexibility in motion, if you will. Even without knowing much about hockey, it was evident that their moves were more agile.

More and more evidence is pointing to the fact that EXTENSIVE, slow, PRE WORKOUT static stretch can lead to injury in SOME people.

Furthermore, there has been no studies indicating that static stretch prevents injury.

In most cases, for sports requiring agility and fast reaction time, save static stretch for post workout.
post #18 of 18
In reference to the "Agility" post I have a system I have used for the last 30 years and find it works wonders for agility in conjuction with strength and endurance training. Here's how it goes.

After a summer of fun on bikes, running, hiking, etc.,I move back to the weight training for some power development. The agility piece comes by hiking Waterville Valley,NH 3-5 times a week once I reach August.

First I do this with hiking boots or good trail running shoes and a light pack, say 15-25 lbs. I use trekking poles "always" for stability and upper body development. Once I get to the top of where I'm going I take a short rest change sweaty gear and begin going down the mountain. By the way all of this is done on "soft mushy" ski slopes, to protect my knees and ankles. I choose relatively steep terrain for both up and down portions and I wear a heart rate monitor to track my workouts year to year.

Next, after I start down, I choose a trail which is steep enough to "bounce" Slalom style down in intervals. As my legs get stronger and I get more accustomed to a given steepness of one trail, I then rachet up the steepness and intensity. I work on turning only my feet and femurs, while keeping my upper body as quiet as possible, just like skiing bumps or any other turn. What I have found over many years is that this helps to retain muscle memory over the summer months. It also aids with continuous coordination of pole use, something we rarely do in the off season. Finally it helps to build some core strength and develop a focus (vision now), toward the new turn's direction. This workout typically takes me about 1 1/2 hours to complete.

The final piece to the overall "Agility Plan", is to continue to in-line skate as much as possible during the summer and fall, right up to ski season,so that there is a building of turn mechanic skills being reinforced until I step back on skis.

The result for me has been that in the last 13 seasons, I have never had tired of sore quads the first week back on skis. I also train a number of twenty and thirty somethings, who are good athletes. To stay up with their level of conditioning I needed to develop a plan, which would keep it ski interesting for me over a long period of time to work. Additionally, I have found that my ski turn mechanics have been more comfortable faster than those folks I coach, once I get back on skis.

: Whtmt :

[ September 22, 2002, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: whtmt ]
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